Monday, April 2, 2018

Beatles Night

Once or twice or thrice a month, they have at the Casablanca Bar in Sanur a night devoted to the music of the Beatles. The group, composed of Indonesian guitarists and singers, is not bad at all, though they do come up with some interesting, unintentionally alternative lyrics.

I sit in an out of the way corner with my thick Bali coffee, black as motor oil, and think for the most part of other nights. I cannot help but remember Beatles Night in Portland, Oregon. I don't remember the name of the bar, but I remember the raucous crowd and large pitchers of beer and laughing and dancing and being very drunk. I was in my late 30's/early 40's at that time. It was the place where my sweetheart and I would meet, as she was technically otherwise attached at the time, and so we had to meet in secret. Later, she got unattached, and we got married, and she decided that she no longer wanted to go to Beatles Night. If I wanted to dance, she said, I could dance with her at home. And I suppose that she was right. I suppose this in hindsight. At the time, I liked the crowd, and the friends, and the music, and I liked drinking.

I cannot count the times my second wife and I separated, sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks at a time. And when that happened, I would always find myself back at Beatles Night; and there I would also always find 'Duh-neese'.

Denise was a petit young woman, just a bit younger than myself, and uncommonly pretty in an unusual sort of way, all 98 pounds of her. She was part Cuban, had the figure of a ballerina or gymnast, and dark, lively eyes which, were she angered, could turn sharp as knives. Denise had picked me out of the crowd, for whatever reason. "I dig you," she explained. At the same time, she was the girlfriend, more or less, of the band leader--but a very strange relationship it seemed to be, as she would invite me to their house sometimes, after a night of music and drinking, and we would 'dig' each other while her boyfriend slept in the next room. Each time we got involved, I would promise myself not to do so again--for as pretty as she was, Denise was also pretty darn odd. And of course my wife and I would eventually get back together and poor Denise would become the sort of liability that I did not dig at all. Not that it seemed to make much difference to her. She would politely withdraw, with the confident promise that we would be together eventually. Just wait and see.

I guess anything seemed possible back then. Nothing was written in stone. And Beatles Night would never end.

And, so we see, it hasn't. It has merely moved itself to a new century on the other side of world, and left Denise and her lovely eyes back home in the past. It has also left my youth in the past, and my 'digability'. I watch as in the pane of an enchanted looking glass as other young people party and drink and flirt and dance, digging the whole scene, as we used to say. And as the night grows on, I grow ever more sober on my Bali coffee; and a bit tipsy, perhaps, and a bit nauseous, too, under the influence of so heady a dose of caffeine.

No comments: